Man asked to ‘assault doc’

2015-10-03 07:45
Parmanand and Nalini Sewram.

Parmanand and Nalini Sewram. (Ian Carbutt)

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Pietermaritzburg - An alleged plan by businessman murder accused Rajivee Soni to give the late doctor, Bhavish Sewram, a “hiding” came under the spotlight in the high court on Friday.

State witness, ex-policeman Morné Emersleben, brother-in-law of self confessed ex-“rogue” Mountain Rise policeman Sugen Naidoo, said he found people to assault the doctor, but the plan was never carried out.

He also testified that he had been asked by Soni and Naidoo if he could get his (Emersleben’s) wife to lay a false sexual assault charge against the doctor, but he refused.

He said Soni promised to provide him with premises to stay in for a year without paying lights, water or rental.

“I still told him no, because I have a family to think of,” said Emersleben.

He said he was also asked by Soni whether he could obtain an unlicensed firearm for him. “I lied and said I could,” he said. He did not know why Soni wanted one.

Emersleben said Naidoo told him they could “get money off Rajivee” if he lied to him about being able to get an unlicensed gun, and so he did but again never produced “the goods”.

Under cross examination by Soni’s attorney, Naren Sangham, Emersleben said he did not agree to go along with the alleged plans “out of greed” but because he felt “obligated” to Naidoo because he was “family” and he was living under his roof at the time.

He said he knew “nothing” about Naidoo’s evidence that he (Emersleben) was involved in finding “coloured guys to stab the doctor” and not just to assault the doctor.

He also denied that he was aware of a plan to plant an unlicensed gun in Sewram’s surgery, as Naidoo testified.

Emersleben said he was asked by Soni sometime in May 2012 if he could find someone to “assault” the doctor because he was “jolling” with Soni’s wife.

At the time, Emersleben (who was also a policeman at the time) said he and his family were living in Naidoo’s home, and Naidoo had introduced him to Soni.

Soni asked if there was someone he trusted who could assault the doctor and he had said yes. He contacted his friend, Mannetjies.

“Mannetjies said he knows a guy … Later that evening he contacted me and I passed the information on to Sugen, who passed it on to Soni,” he said.

Emersleben said he was given R1 000 that day by Naidoo to buy some rock cocaine, which they “smoked together”.

The following day Naidoo handed him R5 000 all in R200 notes, and told him to pay Mannetjies half the money up front and the balance when the assault was complete.

Emersleben said he did as he was asked.

After hearing from Mannetjies later that night that the “assault was done”, he said he met Mannetjies and Clint Hammond (who was supposed to carry out the assault) in Victoria Road and gave them the remaining R2 500.

“I was later contacted by Sugen and was told that no assault took place as the accused [Soni] was standing at Fusion Bar [across from Sewram’s surgery] and that he wants his money back.”

Emersleben said he was not able to get the R5 000 back because Mannetjies said that Hammond had “run away to Durban”.

Emersleben admitted during cross examination that while he was still a policeman he had faced “about five” criminal charges dating back to 2005, but said all but one assault and robbery case, which is still pending, were withdrawn.

He said he resigned from the SAPS last March.

The case is proceeding.

RAJIVEE Soni has pleaded not guilty to orchestrating Dr Bhavish Sewram’s murder on May 13, 2013.

Soni has also denied involvement in a host of other incidents that the court has been told were designed to make the doctor’s life a “living hell” because Soni suspected him of having an affair with his wife.

Sewram was gunned down as he was leaving his surgery in Raisethorpe by a hired assassin, Sabelo Dlamini, who is serving a 25-year prison sentence after pleading guilty

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime  |  court

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